Welcome Home Food: Artichokes, Steak, and a Winter Salad

Scott is home.  Yay!!!

To celebrate, I thought it was time we thawed out some steak and made a tasty salad.  Not a steak salad, because we found ourselves in possession of some steak that was too good for salad usage.  Oooh, aaah. A rare and welcomed occasion in our household.

So if I’m welcoming you home from a long absence, this is what it might look like:

steak and saladBut before we got to that, I had a celebratory food item for myself:

these beautiful steaming artichokes brought to you by popsugar.com

these beautiful steaming artichokes brought to you by popsugar.com

Artichokes have always been special food in my family, and then they were made more special by their frequent appearance on my plate during study abroad.  Thanks, friend who shall remain nameless, for positively reinforcing the connection between happiness in Switzerland and artichokes in my brain.

So, the artichoke appetizer was for me.  I did make two, so I was only really being 90% selfish.

Simple Steamed Artichokes

Ingredients: as many artichokes as you want to make (1/2 or 1 per person preferred), a few tablespoons of butter for melting/dipping, half a lemon.

Instructions:

  • Cut off the spikey tops of the artichoke leaves.  I like doing this with kitchen scissors, but a knife is the traditional choice.
  • Place the artichoke(s) into about 1 inch of boiling water in a pot.  Cover chokes and let steam for about an hour.  Drain pot.  Make sure you don’t dive into the artichoke consumption immediately, because you will burn your tongue.  I know.  I do that almost every time I make these.
  • Dip the leaves into your melted butter and lemon mix, and wait expectantly until the next time you have artichokes.

And the steak was for Scott.  The salad was part of my scurvy-prevention program.

Twas good.  This is the recipe we intended to make: Celery, Fennel and Apple Salad from Food and Wine.

But it didn’t quite go down like that.  For one thing, I’ve looked for fennel at least 10 times in my life and I’ve never found it in the grocery store.  Never.  So no fennel.  Secondly, our fresh basil supply froze weeks ago, and I was feeling too cheap to buy 1/2 a cup of fresh basil.  Long story short, here’s what our salad ended up including:

Salad!

  • 3/4 cup pecans
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 celery ribs, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 endives, because they were at the store, and they’re kind of fun–thinly sliced
  • 2 Honeycrisp apples—cored and sliced
  • A large bowl of spring salad mix–the dark green stuff, or any kind you like
  • Parmesan cheese shavings, for garnish

The only preparation trick (other than throwing everything into a bowl together and making sure things are relatively evenly distributed at the end) is to toast the pecans for a few minutes.  That adds so much flavor to the salad.

Yum.  Needless to say, I like having Scott home.  And I like eating artichokes and steak and fancy salad.

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